The front cover of AM New York today questions whether the NYC rock music scene is dying out because clubs in Manhattan keep closing: City's clubs falling silent: "Buyers, lured by the mystique of the Lower East Side's arts and music scene, pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to live at the center of it. A few years later that same edgy nightclub goes out of business, having received many noise complaints from the new condo owners, and pinched by skyrocking rents driven up by those same well-heeled neighbors."
Can venues afford to pay the same rents that national chains and expensive co-ops can? No. Indie rock and experimental music are not a big money industries. Is the LES scene dead? No. Or at least, not yet.
While Tonic and Sin-é closed, The Mercury Lounge, Pianos, Cake Shop, The Living Room, The Delancey, Rockwood Music Hall, Fontanas, and The Annex are the venues in the LES hosting live music that I could think of off the top of my head. Sin-é, for one, offered little that's not matched or exceeded by the surviving venues in the area. Tonic, on the other hand, was a good sized and great sounding room that programmed a solid mix of avant-garde and emerging mainstream music.
But the opening and closing of venues is part and parcel of the vibrancy of New York's music scene. Take CBGB's, for example, which ceased to be relevant long before it finally closed its doors.
Besides the venues in the LES, Brooklyn has a hopping scene. Union Hall, Magnetic Field, Southpaw, Trash, Union Pool, Galapagos and the new Luna Lounge are among the conveniently located venues offering interesting shows that I can think of off the top of my head. That's not even adding in venues further out in Brooklyn, such as the places that Todd P books.